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CHAPTER NINE

THE MOSAIC

A Matter of Method

Now one would not want the reader to imagine that just because the term 'mosaic' is deployed (yes, it is rather a battle sort of chapter, but not a simply military one, for life has many more battles than that type, and ones that count the more), that this is about Moses. Insulting ? Incredibly simplistic ? Not at all. Religious and something with a 'mos' in it, this can readily arouse the unruly,  and those in particular, who like to deplore the Old Testament, presumably in terms of the tea-cake and tea sort of situation. But is this what is found , for example, in the book of Revelation, or in Matthew 7:15ff. in the Sermon of the Mount,  in the NEW Testament  ... ?

Wait! It is not really is it ?

That is just what the wagtail was saying to the eagle.

It isn't really is it ?

It isn't really insulting to suggest that I might have a mos on Moses! said the eagle, expostulating.

Of course it isn't! said the wagtail, whose name by the way is Willy,

You see, in things religious it is literally (well almost) incredible that you have almost only to think it, to find someone who believes it. (To be frank, a lot of pseudo-science is no better, but merely a form of religious masquerade by the misled in white.)

THAT, said the eagle with a somewhat austere drawing of himself up, in his case achieved by raising just a little, about 6 inches, his wings and curling their edges up that little bit which looks so composed, geometrical and dignified: THAT, he said need not include me!

But I thought it did, said Willy, reflecting on a recent conversation, to which it seems we were not party.

After all, when we met the other day - and by the way, wasn't it wonderful the way I became so accustomed to looking up where you were going to fly to meet me, before, that I saw you another day; and you became so used to looking for me, that your great eye (I know you have two, but that is just a figure ... oh! I know, that too will be insulting!).

He aborted the sentence in almost silent geometrical pattern of willy-type wags that amused the great bird enormously, and put him in a better humour.

All right! said the eagle. (And now we shall no longer use italics for their speech, since the pressure between them was no longer so high!). He pondered and continued.

I suppose you are right, people can believe in magic glasses that read something that is not available to be read on gold plates that are not available to be found, and predict returns of Christ contrary to Bible's refusal to indicate the day or the hour, or even the season, as in Acts 1, and then other people follow them; and people can talk about buried treasure and go in a ship to find it, by revelation, and it is not to be found, and people continue to follow them and to believe them; and people can expect Christ in 1934 and He does not oblige, and people can continue to listen to the amended versions, and follow them, and consign their souls to hell by FAILING to receive and believe in the substitutionary atonement by which their sin is consigned where their lives are redeemed NOT to go ... WHAT will people NOT do!

I freely apologise for any to be sure, unintended embarrassment I may have caused you, for my part, responded the magnanimous wren, who found the admission rather a wrench since being pert and pertinacious can be near to each other at times, but she was trying very hard to be more spiritual, so that it did not feel TOO bad. It is just that it is quite amazing how wise can be the people who fail and fall in little things, by habit, or social convention, or because this is the way they were educated and so forth, said she, flitting about fastidiously as she spoke.

My dear Willy, said the eagle, who was beginning to have difficulties in his own endeavours to be chivalrous as well as polite, in this, that Willy is normally a male name, but anyway, Willy is such a wag, he thought, that I suppose it does not matter.

Willy seemed to read his thoughts, for this was the first time the eagle had called her Willy.

You COULD make it Wilhemena, she said, always having had a soft spot for that name, because like his geometrical flitting antics, it seemed so improbable.

I know, said the eagle, let's make it Wilhie ?

Willy blushed, and the strange thing was it was a blue blush, and it just came into the eyes: strange things allegorical birds, but you simply cannot anatomise them.

All right! she said.

Wilhie dear ... this seemed TOO intimate and could cause offence, so was discontinued by the eagle whose name, by the way, was Magi (because of his majestic wings, and because he was trying so hard to be poor in spirit that 'majesti' seemed both a spelling error and too self-important). However,  he tried again.

Wilhie my friend .. but he then did a little excursion, just over the hill, a mere flip, and came gliding back in a purely sensational little effort that Wilhie (we may as well follow Magi in this) admired greatly. It also allowed Magi to collect his wits and recompose his aborted sentence structure.

Wilhie, he continued (for he HAD started), it is quite true that I was beginning to act as if the Old Testament was justice and the New Testament mercy, when Psalm 100 which I really must learn because it is both short and immensely memorable, has this lovely balm in it:

"For the LORD is good,
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations."

MERCY, said Wilhie, is everywhere in the Old Testament, say Micah 7:19ff., for an illustrious example, and Exodus 34:6ff. for another. The very meaning of the heart behind sacrifice, and it was - is - the way of life for David interminably, part of the 'goodness and mercy' to follow him all the days of his life, is found here; and of course, we read in Psalms, "I trust in His mercy of God for ever and ever" - 52:8.
It had been in his morning devotion and he recalled it. Again, he says,

  • "I have set the LORD always before me
  • Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved".


 

David would not, in other words, totter because the truth, the Lord is his rock (Psalm 62), and there simply IS no other ROCK, as it says, so that the Romanist version is based on what is not there (Psalm 18:31), on a Peter whom history never knew, posing as a rock: which is more than embarrassing. Christ is the rock, Peter in the Greek, merely a stone, and the contrast between a great mass of living rock and a stone is just a matter of two things: vocabulary and victory. To found yourself on what is not there ...

Yes, replied Magi, it is true, and that is not structurally sound, is it  ?

No, it is like some of those IT companies which had the bottom fall out of them on the market, because there was so little that is there; but with that religion, the basis as they put it, does not have the privilege of existence. Imagine in a storm climbing up onto a rock, and then finding it was only in your imagination that it could be found!

I should rather not, replied Magi. Manufacturing a Mary who is not Mary, but sinless and a queen in heaven, one would have thought, would have been discouraged quite enough in the parallel errors in Israel, in the days of Jeremiah - you know, the appalling errors seen in Jeremiah 44:17ff., where they kept up their delusion about a queen of heaven who Biblically is simply not there, and argued the toss with Jeremiah so that even the loss of Jerusalem was not enough to make them sober, till they destroyed themselves, as is predicted, isn't it, of Rome.

Of course! said Wilhie, who had read SMR pp. 1032-188H quite closely, and many other things.

It IS baseless, declared Magi, feeling distinctly magisterial, to think of mercy for the New and law for the Old Testament. Why! Romans 4 is full of the complete parallel between the righteousness accorded Abraham by FAITH, long before he ever offered up Isaac, and that accorded believers now. IN fact it even says this of Abraham:

  • "He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised, He was also able to perform. And therefore, it was accounted to him for righteousness."


In this way, proceeded Magi, we find it directly written: "Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offences and was raised because of our justification."

And, added  Wilhie, it even continues at once: "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God."

It is all one, said Magi. One God, one mercy, one righteousness, one sacrifice with many preliminary expositions in Moses and before, one hope, one ransom, one atonement with many preliminary pictures on the path, one tabernacle which is Christ embracing His people as in I Peter 2:9ff., one Lord as in Isaiah 48:16, one future for faith, one for disbelief ...

And ONE reality which be it in the whipping of Paul, or the uprising against Moses, in the battles of the past, or in Armageddon to come, in the many wars noted in advance so neatly in Matthew 24, in complete contrast to a peaceable and painless preparation by a mighty church for the coming of Christ, in such a perfect ferment of evil, which is to increase as Christ said, and false prophets and false christs that you would think of just what we have, if you read it, and applied it to contemporary affairs. It is a portrait, and it is in red not from ochre, but from blood... It is to be read before seen as red; for then it can be understood with better vision and grasp of meaning.

Wilhie had not known that Magi could go to such depths, since he seemed rather a creature of heights, but not for the first time, he reflected, that if you are high, then you can go low without hitting the ground, if only your eyrie is right up in the clouds, and then you are a creature of the depths, but since rather made his head feel pressed, and that upset the geometry of his movements, and this was bad for business, for a fellow had to eat, he desisted - in the thought, not the movement, and waited a while.

It is often good for a conversation to lapse. They looked at each other, at the distance, at the view, and contemplated. They call it meditation nowadays, and put in a transcendental for good verbiage, but there is nothing transcendental about meditating without Christ. It is like reading without print, and incidentally, it lowers from the imagined height, which is good for Magi, but in the transcendental case, there are no wings, which is strange, because you need them when you go to the depths. In any case, he reflected, it is Christ who is found, as it is written in Ephesians 4,

"Therefore He says, When He ascended on high,

  • 'He led captivity captive,
  • And gave gifts to men'.
  • (Now this, 'He ascended' - what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth ? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things')..."


THUS, it is HE who did the journeyings, we need HIM, not the abyss of philosophy or psychology. He has been there, done that, and it is not merely voyaging which HE did, but conquest of the sin and ambition and folly and detached retina type of viewing which ignorance gets when the eye is bad! Indeed, does it not say ...


I KNOW what you are thinking, said Magi. I noticed your gaze and followed your drift! It says this:

  • "The righteousness of faith speaks in this way, 'Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' (that is to bring Christ down from above), or , 'Who will descend into the abyss?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead!').  But what does it say ? 'The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart ' (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" - Romans 10 is it not ?


And where does Paul find this Old Testament declaration which he is quoting ? In Moses, in Deuteronomy 30, where it is a matter of loving the Lord (Deut. 30:16) and of walking in His ways, and having faith in Him, not allowing the wickedness of sin to distract (as in Deut. 29:19ff.).

After all, the problem for Israel  when it refused to go into the land promised as a GIFT, at Kadesh Barnea, one of the pivots of Israel's whole history, was simple. They DID NOT TRUST the Lord. HENCE they did not go. What was intended to educate them on faith as a surgical instrument with the Lord, His word, with the Lord Himself the doctor, was not their deliverance if not mixed with faith. It was the Lord who delivered, who spoke, and wished them to learn so that they would know WHOM they trusted; for without trust, there was nothing. It was a telephone without wires. It is just as Christ put it in John 5:39-40: rightly they read it, but they did not COME to Him of whom it spoke. No directions, nowhere to go. Directions ? then if you still do NOT go, nowhere to come!

When they believed like Moses, like Joshua, like Daniel who trusted in God in his own extremity, then they found the grace given to be sufficient and the necessities to be met by the power of the One to whom they would look. The Old Testament is NOT AT ALL DISCOUNTED: it is just that some of it is fulfilled, has budded and bloomed. It is we, not God, who has to grow up, and it is HIS WORD (as in II Timothy 3:16).

In fact, the word to Abraham unconditionally, and the severity of the law, conditionally, blend to a beautiful sapphire of fire. DO NOT be slack, but realise sin and cling to the Saviour. DO NOT trust in your own works, for cursed in anyone who does not do ALL, so trust in His mercy, like David, for ever and see by faith the Lord ALWAYS before you as He promised, and able to do exceedingly above everything you either ask or think (Ephesians 3). There was NEVER a time when the access to God lay with works; works were for exhibition of sin, sin was for real, and reality found mercy ONLY in the provisions of mercy, in sacrifice, and that not in routine, but in reality of heart (as in Isaiah 1).

On the other hand, said Wilhie, while the law was like a tutor which we outgrow, since Christ has fulfilled its ceremonial, sacrificial immensities and intensities, what does a tutor DO ? Teach folly ? The law taught principles which do not depart, since everything has to STAY or be FULFILLED (Matthew 5:17ff.). You do not go to school in order to be ignorant, but knowledgeable. Hence the rest of the day of rest is not annulled, for it rested in the realities of creation as in Exodus 20, and they are not able to be cancelled, and it is God who made them so rest as we read there.

It is the modalities of the Sabbath and its ceremonial acts which are now passť; its reality of one day of rest in a spiritual proclamation is not annulled or altered in the least. It cannot be, for God has given the ground not in the future, but in the past. The SPIRITUAL rest was offered even in Psalm 95's account of the Exodus, and that involved the law before they failed; and yet they did not take it, but wandered in the desert. Spiritual rest (as in Psalm 116:7) is always there, and part of the beauty of the association covenantally with the Lord. Resting as reciprocity for creation and its model, that is not annulled any more than life, then created like that, is annulled.

Yes, said Magi, the word of God is one, when you study it, and that is because God is one and does not change. He does not speak in order to have his words blithely discountenanced by people who affect to worship Him.

He does not, Wilhie pursued the point, make Israel turn by magic into the Church, either, except when He is using figurative speech and makes this clear. Imagine if a headmaster were addressing a pupil, and without explanation of the discontinuity, began teaching his son and rebuking him for works he had never done since he was not yet born, and imagined that the father - still a child - could understand such purely fictitious peregrinations of thought.

It would be ... odd! admitted Magi, whose inward smirk had quite turned up the tips of his wings.

Look! said Wilhie, at Israel. They were the people who had a unique history. NO ONE CAN duplicate it for the simple reason that no one else was ever a sodden slur from sin (Amos 9:7ff.), rescued by a certainty through mercy and sacrifice, envisaged in pictorial and ceremonial form in the Old Testament, and predicted to become a person of atonement, the Messiah; and then became rebellious; then defiled true and pure religion, turned to works of imagination and rebellion, trusting in themselves, the mere activity of sacrifice or various religious innovations, or both, or all, or almost anything, even their law instead of their Lord, and so been disciplined by predicted power, OUT of their land, only in due and long time to be restored to it, by promise, unconditional, made from the first to their founder, Abraham.

Of course not! said Magi, beginning to feel insulted, but realising that after all, this was merely Wilhie's way of expounding the thing. Besides, there is about little things, when they proceed with purity in their task, not adorning or adoring themselves, something very easy to love, and Magi was finding his brotherly love for Wilhie to be augmenting. She was such a precise little thing, so deft. Magi went on another little flight over the hills - which Wilhie found quite absorbing, reflecting on the nature of creatures, creation and love, and finding the thoughts affecting.

Look, exploded Wilhie! (for even little things can explode, take personnel bombs, those delightful little heritages which war in its foresight can donate to the next generation - such an essentially GOOD world, don't you think! and getting SO much better ... oh no, what was it before if THIS is better!).

Yes, replied Magi, his eyes fixed on the distant stars, since this was a dawn exposure and you could still see them.

I am going to list it, the tapestry fabric, the mosaic indeed, of Israel and the Lord's way with them.

No! said Magi, it is so demanding.

I will!

All right.

You can see the detailed expositions of these things one by one in those books we know, such as SMR Chs.  8 and  9, Appendix AIt Bubbles, It Howls, It Calls, Divine Agenda, Galloping Events, but the basic facts are these.

First Israel was created, as Amos 9 tells us, in not very imposing ways, racially. Abraham was called in a very enterprising and rewarding way, through faith, and in the interstices of these things, as seen in Genesis 12, 15, 17, 22 and so on, as shown in detail in Galloping Events Ch. 4, major promises were made. With God these are kept. However, there WERE decisive conditions imposed in some things, with equally decisive results, leading as predicted in Leviticus 26 for example, to the exile, a temporary first instalment in the 6th century B.C., and then to the more permanent one, A.D. 70 to 1948. Now let us look at the subsequent detail.
 

       1. Israel was to be sent out, and return to the land of their devastation and discipline.

       2. It was to be restored in circumstances showing both to themselves and to the nation, how UN-meritorious they were, and how GRACIOUS and MERCIFUL the Lord was (yes, in the Old Testament, in places such as Ezekiel 36-39 as exposited in the places we have read).

       3. The result, including the Jews' amazing, divinely engineered return to their land of Israel,  was to be an enormous learning experience for the OTHER NATIONS, the ones which had NOT had this explicit history which was uniquely the part of Israel.

       4. It would mean that their would be too little space for them, it would be crowded (Isaiah 49:20). The restoration would be that of a growing multitude. They could scarcely FIT in the place they gained... which is of course is what happened in that remarkle century, the 21st..

       5. This restoration and what preceded it, too, would be a learning experience for Israel (Ezekiel 37:13), since she had suffered such enormous losses prior to the return, or its comsummation, that the very idea of crowding, rather than of acute desolation and death, seemed so contrary as to be amazing: "Who has begotten me these ?"  she is pictured in Isaiah as exclaiming,


 

"Since I have lost my children and am desolate,
A captive and wandering to and fro ?
And who has brought these up ?
There I was, left alone:
But these, where were they ?" (Isaiah 49:21).

  • 6. It would occur, moreover, in circumstances where the NATIONAL INAUGURATION would be amazingly sudden, something searched for in vain in history, if one wanted duplication. It would be sui generis, as it was in May 1948 (Isaiah 66:7-8). It FOLLOWED ruin and loneliness of loss, and peregrinations in the nations, and not oozing from a past still populous. It was Israel restored to the place apportioned, as given in Deuteronomy.

 

  • 7. Despite this dramatic suddenness, it would be in a situation where forests and flowers would be in stark contrast, in their very elevation of beauty, to the desolations before (repeatedly, as in Isaiah 55:13, 35:1ff.). Moreover the forests are to be


 

"for an everlasting sign which shall not be cut off" - even if the Palestinians tried at one  stage    o set fire to forests in Israel.


 

  • 8. This would be so, despite the constant WARS which would sprout in less salubrious power from the soil. Israel would be menaced, threatened, assailed, assaulted, regaled with slaughter, but be victorious in power so amazing that the prophet indicates directly, that

 
"the one who is feeble among them is that day shall be like David, and the house of David like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them. It shall be that in  that day, I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem" - Zechariah 12:8-9.

This is to be FOLLOWED by the national phase of repentance against their former national deed of piercing the One who was the LORD in the flesh (Zechariah 12:10), and this,  prior to the impending event:  the return of that Lord personally in power to rule (as in Psalm 2, 72, and Zechariah 14).

This has been the case, the last leg of the journey merely for us signifying the placement of the rest. It is before the return of the Lord, impending, and after the crucifixion of Christ.

  • 9. Nations trying to trouble Jerusalem at this time - closely paralleling the great tribulation of Matthew 24, which is the signal of the Lord's personal return (Matthew 24 and cf. The Other News Appendix 2), in its intensity and turmoil internationally, in its prelude potential to the actual end of the Age itself -  would also be taught a few lessons (Zechariah 12:3). In fact, Jerusalem is for such to become a "cup of drunkenness".

Jerusalem, instead of a prey, would be a BURDENSOME STONE to them, as Mr Clinton and many before him have found out. You do not have to TRY to attack Jerusalem, in order to divest it of its proper place in Jewry.
 

  • 10. Israel, so restored after a desolatory program, is a people who before this phase, had their very existence often  threatened, and in one episode, that decisively (as in Hitler's efforts cf. Jeremiah 30:6-9, where this phase is directly linked in sequence to the Lord's return and reign on earth),


 

"Alas! For that day is great,
So that there is none like it,
And it is the time of Jacob's trouble."

 

 

11. On return to its land, after its long ignominy and displacement, however, Israel is to receive much help internationally (Isaiah 49:22-23).
 

This of course has come from Germany in reparations, from the USA in one hopes, generosity and fellow feeling from the nation with so many Jews, especially in New York, but it has, whatever the reason, come as predicted; and it has come from many Jewish and un-Jewish sources. Even the Trade Union movement has shown some fellow feeling for the kibbutz-conscious labour of the little guy, Israel.
 
 

  • 12. This Israel will be augmented by Jews returning to their ASSIGNED homeland (as in Deuteronomy 32:8-9), from many places (Isaiah 49:24-26,22, 42:14-16, Ezekiel 36:21-25, 37:21, where this people is brought back to their King, and not to be displaced again, nor to serve idols again as in 37:23,24). They are not brought back for the occlusions of generations of blindness, but for sight; they do not come in order to make the greatest of defilements in the slaughter of Christ, but to receive Him as King. They are not restored to wander, but to stay put. This is the prophetic word. Enough is enough!

So have they come, and their liberation from other lands has in fact been prodigious, and successive, even from Africa as predicted, from Iraq, from many nations as predicted, and attested in the books we have read, and noted above. Russia has released many not long before  zealously kept back, and these Asiatics form a segment in the contemporary, restored land of Israel.
 

  • 13. Yet they are intent on seeking some sort of national unity, while the day of their repentance as in Zech. 12:10 draws (procedurally, in the prophetic mapping service) very near. Hence they have found a way to restore the PURITY OF THE ANCIENT LANGUAGE (as in Zephaniah 3:9). This is not primarily a 'spiritual language' as some would have it, though the fellowship at Pentecost and ordinary Christian fellowship could be an application.

Basically, the context is this: a remnant of the uniquely categorisable people, we have looked at above, is to come to its appointed land. Its credentials (or if you wish, perhaps more accurately, anti-credentials, 'criminal record'  in spiritual terms, such thingsbeing explicit in Zephaniah 3), are traced, and lo, here it is back from all the lands (and as in 3:10, "from beyond the rivers of Ethiopia" as literally happened in operation Solomon not many years ago). The PURPOSE of the language is that they "all may call on the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one accord." This being immediately followed by reference to their coming from such places as Ethiopia, leaves the pure language reference like a jewel in its setting.

Jews come from other nations and need common speech: they are to have it, so that not as a polyglot assemblage, but one people, not as a vocally disrupted people, but as is normal for a nation, in the many varied cases, with ONE language which is at least speakable by all. THIS too will be a normalcy to be restored. It is a grace to be accorded.

In fact, it has been in large measure accorded, as SMR ( p. 798) shows, in the prodigious works of Hebrew dictionary labour, wrought by Eliezer Ben Yehuda.

Thus Army recruits (and they have to be ready to fight there, and prepare the young) have this integrating force, precisely as predicted, and learn Hebrew, so nicely systematised and modernised and applied to modern things, for them by this great lexicographer, not always understood as he did the great task, but still persistent.

Nothing fails of the Lord's word; it never does with the Lord. What He says, happens.

       14. Jerusalem, for all that, was to be cut in two, divided, at one phase. This happened, with all the pillage and rape predicted in Zechariah 14, after the return, in the very precincts contextually, of the Lord's return in mighty power to RULE in Jerusalem, and impose justice in the earth. It was 1948 when it occurred.

       15. The advent of Jewish control in Jerusalem was so astonishing that even now it is all but incredible. How COULD a people dispersed throughout a land, not even in control of its institutions, not equipped, harassed and harrowed almost to the grave by Hitler, oppressed by Britain, its erstwhile supporter, when in hulks and creaking vessels, they tried to lumber themselves back to the land from the tender mercies shown them for centuries by Europe, and merely capped by Hitler, only to be turned back by the British navy, of all preposterous things! how could they ... win! Were they not a despised and all but abandoned remnant of people intent on finding ... home ?


Impossible to win ? It would assuredly seem so by any statistical enterprise. But in 1948, they won, and took the land and the half of Jerusalem as predicted. Thus the astonishment in Isaiah 66:8-9 fits the facts like the bloom of a peach, resting glowingly on its skin.
 

       16. It was astonishing: it was also SUDDEN, as the text noted shows predicted. It predicts BOTH of these things.

       17. It was also a total taking of Jerusalem as occurred in 1967, with great emotion at the wailing wall in particular, where their long,  (literally) disjointed history could be reflected on, especially the imperviousness of the word of the Lord, and the impenitence of the human heart, which yet, needed to return to its founder, and to their own! (Luke 21:24, cf. Micah 7:15).

       18. Israel, for all this, has become ANOTHER source of astonishment. HOW COULD the people fail to believe in the face of all these things! But look at other false religions (one refers here of course not least but not only, to Judaism, which shears off the Messiah who arrived at the date predicted - SMR pp. 886ff., News 87, End-Note 1, and NOT to the Old Testament, which in fact emplaces Him!): it is all but beyond imagination how people possibly COULD believe such ill-attested, unverified, imaginary substitutes for the uniquely valid Bible and uniquely attested Jesus Christ (I look at Repent or Perish Ch. 7 here, as well as SMR Ch. 1 and That Magnificent Rock Ch. 5).

       This too is predicted, this continued unbelief for a time, in the restored land. Obviously, in Zechariah 12, which has the Jewish people back in Israel in large and definitive numbers, a nation once more, one attacked, just before the actual end of the Age in the return of Christ as King over the earth as in Zech. 14: there has to be a BEFORE as well as an AFTER situation. SINCE the people are found to be repenting of having pierced the LORD, in His fleshly format, and to do this in a national sort of a way, and in profound and sustained grief of heart, and prodigious sorrow, leading on to the fountain of blood being open in Jerusalem (Zech. 13:1), the place of mercy no more in the temple but in the sacrifice of the LORD which THEY instituted as a people, we have to ask, What happened before that ?

       Clearly before that, they had NOT so repented, and the fountain of blood which is to be opened as a spiritual event for them, in Jerusalem,  is not so found at this national level. Hence they had not believed, which requires repentance as a prelude if anything ever did (as in Luke 13:1-3). Hence they were back in the land, indeed, though this still in unbelief, despite all the mercies. The battles occur, as one can read in Zechariah 12, BEFORE this event of repentance. The victories with the power of God Himself back of them, are performed BEFORE the time of grief at sin, specific, specialised grief at the thing known as the crucifixion. That is what the text of Zechariah specifically shows.

 

The people as a whole are STILL in unbelief, to that point. Their blindness as Paul describes it in Romans 11:25 is still operative. The Gentile period is not quite at its end, although it is already passť (as in Luke 21:24), if one counts Jerusalem as under Jewish control, which it appears to be.
 

  • This is precisely as predicted in Ezekiel 36, where the Jews are brought back to the land, never to move again, and ONLY THEN, baptised, or sprinkled with water; and in Ezekiel 37, where the dry bones of a dispersed and exiled Israel are in visionary format, are seen as being put together PHYSICALLY, before SPIRITUALLY. There are two separate commands (37:7, 9), and the result of the latter is this:


 

    • " ' I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live... Then you shall KNOW that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it,' says the LORD.' "


 

It is only then that they are given, BY a specific outpouring of the Spirit of God, precisely as in Zech. 12:10, what it is all about. In particular, they will know that God is not mocked, that He brought them down, brought them back, and is restoring them to Himself, their King to rule in their midst as in Zephaniah 3, now that they are at last  willing to recognise Him, who as a sacrifice for sin, became virtually unrecognisable (Isaiah 52:12ff.).

The FACT is this: that they still DO NOT nationally come nearer to believing than making it still very hard even for Christian missionaries to present the Gospel in their midst, an enormous tension being felt repeatedly in Israel, between a desire to be a secular, open nation, and not to offend the 'orthodox', who, of course, Biblically are anything but orthodox, since Christ is the appointed, dated Messiah, in whom to believe is the quintessence of orthodoxy from the law on (Deuteronomy 18). They yet do not believe in Him.
 
 

  • 19. That is not the only tension. BECAUSE they are still outside the Lord, nationally, the LORD whom Abraham worshipped, their forefather who by faith through grace was received by that Lord, the LORD who came as the Messiah, the LORD who is to rule, who is the Creator of the ends of the earth, and appoints them as He will: there are results. Because they still stay far off from HIM,  THEREFORE they are surrounded by enmities which are imponderable, impending, threatening, implacable.

There has to be tension and trouble BEFORE the Lord intervenes categorically to deliver them as in Zechariah 14 and Micah 7:15ff., as in Deuteronomy 32 and as in Isaiah 66. There is. Israel has no peace, though it possesses part of the right piece of earth. What peace could you be reasonably expected to have when you are being made a very heavy stone to your aggressive, invasively inclined neighbours. You cannot act like that without a certain result! You are free in measure in your spirit, but not from its results, when mercy is neglected.

You have no call to act like that, being a burdensome stone and rising up at the threat of becoming prey to the aggressors,  without a certain situation. Surrounded, menaced, assailed, Israel is just as it was predicted in Zechariah 12 it would be : delivered and drastically assailed, BOTH. Victory and trouble mount like a whirl-wind.

 

20. All this: It is like a mosaic. The little bits all fit into a pattern, and the pattern has a message as a whole, while the parts, though small, comprise not only bits, but pattern elements so contrived in precision, with the exact conformity to the tone of the whole and its portent, that it is just like a tapestry, an intricate one. Mosaics from Moses ? well from all the prophets and from history, in a blessed synergy of sympathy. The plan does not extort from the elements, nor do these disrupt the plan. Everything, foreknown, is forecast with that certainty which is so sovereign, that delicacy which is so like the Lord, who knows all and drafts according to knowledge cf. Amos 3:7:

"Surely the Lord will do nothing,
Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
A lion has roared!
Who will not fear ?
The Lord GOD has spoken!
Who can but prophesy ?"


Hmmm! I agree with you, musingly exclaimed Magi.

There was, he found, something intrinsically fascinating about the very littleness of form and movement of Wilhie, yet this was getting so like a lecture that he felt slightly uneasy about his dignity. A bird which soars as if sovereign, being so addressed by a twitterer (he recalled the important distinction from a similar word, rather shortened). Still, he reflected, it was true, and if Wilhie could say it, say on.

They then performed such an oddity of dance, if it could be called that, that it was almost whimsy in action. First the great eagle lifted itself, slowly, lumberingly, off the ground, to glide rather quietly near the surface. Wilhie glittered in the sun in the oddest iridescent sort of blue way, as she flitted in and out of the eagle's wing span, like a flower of delicacy on a wreath.

They were happy. Why not ? Magi had not forgotten his invitation to the feast of Revelation 19:17-18, and Wilhie thought that majesty was so very nice, when it was gentle. In a way, the dance reminded one of the Lord, as the sun began to rise, like the sun of righteousness arising with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2), for the very delicacy of Wilhie suggested to the imagination the gentle grace and compassion of the Lord, while the gentle but grand flight of the eagle near the ground reminded one that Christ had come to earth, that earthlings might fly to heaven, not on physical wings, but in the power of the Lord Jesus Christ,  who made the way open, the Spirit of God filling their hearts, and knowing the redeemed, applying His salvation, working with the Lord, one God for ever, unchanged.

Many things change, thought Magi, but restraint is SO important. Many things change, thought Wilhie, but precision is so vital. Together they danced in the sun, and Wilhie could not help exclaiming in delight,
 

"The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
The lion shall eat straw like the ox,
And dust shall be the serpent's food,
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain," says the LORD. (Isaiah 65:25).


Curses can pass, she thought, when the cure has come.